Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Special Night Is Fit for a Hero; Verdict JUNINHO Didn't Score a Farewell Goal in Front of His Adoring Public and Boro Lost after Leading 2-0, but Last Night's Game Proved Tony Mowbray's First Choice XI Looks Capable of Holding Its Own in the Championship This Season

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Special Night Is Fit for a Hero; Verdict JUNINHO Didn't Score a Farewell Goal in Front of His Adoring Public and Boro Lost after Leading 2-0, but Last Night's Game Proved Tony Mowbray's First Choice XI Looks Capable of Holding Its Own in the Championship This Season

Article excerpt

Byline: PHILIP TALLENTIRE

IN the end there was to be no Hollywood ending for Juninho as he made his final farewell to the Riverside faithful.

But Tony Mowbray will nonetheless take plenty of positives from a night to remember.

Yes, PSV were allowed to come from behind to win 3-2, but Boro were good value for their 2-0 half-time lead and Tuesday's awful performance at Carlisle can be officially classified as a bad day at the office.

Mowbray promised to name his strongest XI ahead of last night''s game, so the manager''s decision to leave skipper Matthew Bates on the bench was significant. Seb Hines was preferred in central defence alongside Stephen McManus.

As expected, Joe Bennett missed the match due to a hamstring injury, though he's expected to be fit for Saturday's curtain raiser against Portsmouth.

Justin Hoyte deputised at left-back while Tony McMahon lined up on the right.

After an uncharacteristically poor display in defence at Brunton Park, Rhys Williams returned to central midfield, where he'd looked so impressive during the tour of Slovenia.

Nicky Bailey partnered him in the engine room while Barry Robson, who was wearing the captain's armband, occupied the right flank and Merouane Zemmama the left.

Up front Marvin Emnes and Scott McDonald led the line.

Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme was named in goal knowing a steady performance would almost certainly earn him a month-to-month loan deal.

PSV lined up in a typically Dutch four-three-three formation, which seemed to suit Boro, who looked comfortable in possession and certainly weren't overawed by their Eredivisie opponents.

The hosts passed their way through Eindhoven in the sixth minute in a move that climaxed when Robson back-heeled a pass to McMahon overlapping down the right and the full-back fired a cross into the six yard box but Emnes, charging in at the near post, could only deflect the ball wide.

Boro enjoyed a slice of luck with their opening goal in the 12th minute. Zemmama slipped the ball into Emnes, who looked to be in an off-side position but PSV's appeals went unheeded. The Dutchman quickly passed to McDonald, who cut across Adriano Marcelo before finishing superbly.

PSV barely threatened and on a rare break into the Boro penalty area, McManus denied the magnificently named Funso Ojo with a superbly-timed sliding tackle.

Twenty minutes in Robson won a battle of wills with McMahon for the right to take a direct free-kick just outside the PSV box but the Scot curled his left-foot attempt high and wide.

Eindhoven eventually engineered a genuine opening when Wilfred Bouma lofted a pass over the Boro defence into the path of Jeremain Lens who took the shot on the half-volley in his stride but his dipping effort flew over Ikeme's crossbar. …

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